By Aisha Sharipzhan

An impressive display of indie-rock music erupted in a punk atmosphere at the 9:30 Club Oct. 24.

After opening bands Raener and Snail Mail, headliner Beach Fossils came on stage about a half hour past midnight, setting up to perform the moody “Generational Synthetic” from their album “Clash The Truth” (2013).

“We come bearing gifts!” joked bassist Jack Doyle Smith, holding up a bowl of apples he brought out from backstage. Beach Fossils carefully tossed apples at the crowd throughout the night, repeatedly thanking them for coming to the late-night show.

Guitarist Tommy Davidson engaged the crowd’s excitement with his humor, offering to write a doctor’s note for all the students in the crowd who had classes or work the next morning before moving on to his next set of catchy riffs.

The night’s collection of indie-rock music with Raener, Snail Mail and Beach Fossils, known for their atmospheric lo-fi sound, delivered powerful performances with heavier instrumentals, filling the venue with an air of ‘90s punk.

“I thought it was amazing being able to see these artists play, and small venues [like the 9:30 Club] make it a lot more intimate,” said Kristina Arraca, a junior journalism major at Catholic University.

Beach Fossils felt the intimacy too as lead vocalist Dustin Payseur continuously declared his love to the crowd between wistful, personal songs like “Youth” and “What a Pleasure.

“I love you, you’re a sweetie pie,” Payseur said, playfully. “Thank you! Let’s get married.”

Instantly recognizing the distinct bass line for “Down the Line” from the band’s latest album, the crowd cheered, sending several legs up in the air as thrilled audience members crowd surfed toward the stage and kept the punk atmosphere alive.

Caridad Castillo, a sophomore Catholic University chemistry student, has listened to Beach Fossils since her freshman year of high school and said the show exceeded her expectations. “I got mosh pitted to the front and, you know, I wasn’t complaining … it was fucking good as shit,” Castillo said.

Other songs from Beach Fossils’ album “Somersault” (2017) included their single “Sugar” and “Saint Ivy,” during which Raener’s Daniel Fox surprised the crowd with an impressive trumpet solo.

While Beach Fossils asserted their presence on stage, the Baltimore-based group Snail Mail made quite the impression on their fellow DMV natives.

“I came specifically for Beach Fossils, but it was the band before them that honestly got me … oh man,” said D.C. resident Michael Montini. “Snail Mail jammed out and got me so excited.”

Snail Mail’s lead vocalist is 17-year-old Lindsey Jordan who demonstrated a youthful yet powerful vocal range. Her raw voice gave their ‘90s indie-rock sound an emotional and intimate feel.

“She has a really cool sound. I think she’s in that Frankie Cosmos realm but she really stands out in a way,” Arraca said, praising Jordan’s original coming-of-age lyrics.

Between songs, a delighted voice in the middle of the crowd frantically yelled “Milk me!” at a shyly amused Jordan.

“I told Snail Mail to ‘milk me,’” Castillo confessed excitedly. “Because she was fucking cute as fuck. I love her music … this music kind of like makes me cream my jeans, you know?”

Before Beach Fossils ended the night with a few more songs, Payseur joked that he thought they would be performing music from “Lord of the Rings,” then Fox suddenly began to play the film’s “The Shire” on the keyboard. And so began Payseur’s monologue:

“I’m having a great time. I hope you’re having a great time because sometimes this thing we’re experiencing called life, it can be a brown paper bag full of dog shit that somebody set on fire and put on your front porch … sometimes you live in a country where the fucking president is fucking shit… but be nice to people, we’re all in this together… I care about you and I want you to care about everybody else.”

On that note, Beach Fossils closed the night with “Daydream” from their 2010 self-titled album with blue and purple lights as a backdrop to the fast-paced yet mellow song. Payseur continued to compliment the crowd, calling D.C. a “fucking dream” as the band threw their last couple of apples and waved goodbye to a crowd that would have stayed up all night on a Tuesday if it meant moshing to Beach Fossils.

Featured Photo Credit: Courtesy of Beach Fossils’ Facebook page. 

Aisha Sharipzhan is a senior journalism major and can be reached at

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